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View Full Version : Connors should have stopped at the end of 1984


martin
07-20-2007, 02:44 PM
Connors won his last grandslam tournaments in 1983 (the U.S. Open).

He had a very positive head to head with Lendl and Mcenroe and won 105 tournaments.

After 1983 he started losing more and more of this opponents/rivals and should have stopped while still having a winning streak.

I am curious to know what you think of this.

In that case we would not have this discussion about Connors - Agassi especially the head to head 2-0. The discussion about Agassi against Connors who was way past his prime.

Chang, Wilander and Becker won a grand slam at the age of 17. Do you know a player in modern above the age of 32 let alone an age of 37 who won a grandslam ? I can't think of any player, can you ?

FiveO
07-20-2007, 03:41 PM
It depends on you definition of "modern": Open? After the first surface changes at the USO and AO? Graphite?

If it's the Open era (as near as I could figure it quickly):

Rosewall-37 yrs. 1972 AO
Gimeno-34 yrs. 1972 RG
Agassi-32 yrs. 2003 AO
Ashe-who was either 31 or barely 32 yrs. 1975 Wimbledon
Laver 31 yrs. 1969 USO
Sampras 31 yrs. 2002 USO

A couple at 30: Connors, Korda, Ivanisevic

Frank Silbermann
07-20-2007, 03:44 PM
Even while falling through the rankings he probably earned more money than he would have earned at playing the seniors tour. I would have played to pro tour even if my best years would have been no better than Connors' declining years.

Jack the Hack
07-20-2007, 03:57 PM
Chang, Wilander and Becker won a grand slam at the age of 17. Do you know a player in modern above the age of 32 let alone an age of 37 who won a grandslam ? I can't think of any player, can you ?

Ken Rosewall won the '72 Australian crown when he was 37 years old, making him the oldest winner. He was also a finalist at Wimbledon and the US Open in '74... when he was 39 years old. Four of Rosewall's Slam titles came after he turned 32, and he is also the oldest Slam semifinalist (at 42). Agassi won his last title a few months shy of 33, and he reached 3 other Slam finals after his 32nd birthday. Andres Gimeno also won the French in '74 at age 34.

I think you might find these links helpful:

http://www.tennis28.com/slams/agerecords_winners.html#oldest
http://www.tennis28.com/slams/agerecords_finalists.html#oldest

As far as Connors retiring in 1983, he was obviously still competitive at that time (having just won a Slam) and was only 31 years old. While his play declined during the rise of Lendl, Wilander, Becker, and others... he still was playing well enough to compete in Slams (as he showed by making the '84 Wimbledon final, the semis at the '87 Wimbledon, and the '87 and '91 US Opens). No need to retire when you still believe you can win a Slam, are making it to the final 4, and have been around others that played into their early 40s. If the body holds up and you can still keep the competitive fires going mentally, I don't see why all of the great champs couldn't play until they were in their late 30s or early 40s. However, for a great many of them, I think they burn out mentally... which Connors didn't do until very late (and in his case, I think it was more of a physical factor that pushed him off the tour... ala Andre Agassi).

Moose Malloy
07-20-2007, 04:32 PM
Yeah, I have a feeling that Connors would be regarded more highly today had he retired in '84(look at how highly Borg is regarded today, partly because he retired pretty close to his prime)
Most great players retire relatively closer after their last slam win, but Connors stuck around much longer, because he just loved to play.

Regardless of Rosewall, I get martin's point. 95%(or higher) of all pros are retired by 37, so it seems absurd that the head to head with Agassi is even mentioned, since Connors defeated the odds in even being on tour at 37, let alone being in the 2nd week of a slam.

Connors in a way gets penalized for still being good in an advanced age, but not being great, when virtually no one has been great at that age.

And Mac is often ranked higher than Connors, but look at Mac's record from '86-'88, compared to the much older Connors. Connors' consistency at the top(meaning top 5/10) is remarkable. Amazing that he never mentally burned out, even briefly( & even though he had kids, which seems to have hurt many other greats)

martin
07-20-2007, 04:36 PM
Yeah, I have a feeling that Connors would be regarded more highly today had he retired in '84(look at how highly Borg is regarded today, partly because he retired pretty close to his prime)
Most great players retire relatively soon after their last slam win, but Connors stuck around much longer, because he just loved to play.

Regardless of Rosewall, I get martin's point. 95%(or higher) of all pros are retired by 37, so it seems absurd that the head to head with Agassi is even mentioned, since Connors defeated the odds in even being on tour at 37, let alone being in the 2nd week of a slam.

Connors in a way gets penalized for still being good in an advanced age, but not being great, when virtually no one has been great at that age.

And Mac is often ranked higher than Connors, but look at Mac's record from '86-'88, compared to the much older Connors. Connors' consistency at the top(meaning top 5/10) is remarkable. Amazing that he never mentally burned out(even though he had kids, which seems to have hurt many other greats)

This is exactly what i mean Moose Malloy. Thanks, finally someone who understands my point.

Mickey Finn
07-20-2007, 04:41 PM
Connors has been making a good living as a speaker at corporate events. His longevity and late career runs at the U.S. Open allowed him to completely rewrite his public persona.

Connor's career stats might look better if he retired in 1983, but the perception of his career would be much worse. People would remember Borg and McEnroe, and Connors would be an afterthought.

laurie
07-21-2007, 08:54 AM
Nothing wrong with playing as long as you can. You only get to live once.

Jimmy Connors shouldn't retire just after 1984 to satisfy the curiosity of someone who thinks about it almost 20 years later. Connors (like everyone either professional or amateur) should play as long as they want/can.

Rather bizarrely (irony) my opinion of Jimmy Connors' exceptional career hasn't diminished just because he played on years after winning his last slam.

jaggy
07-21-2007, 09:06 AM
I am sure Aaron Krickstein agrees

Rabbit
07-21-2007, 09:25 AM
Thank goodness he didn't retire in '84. Had he, we never would have seen his incredible run in '91!

theace21
07-21-2007, 09:57 AM
I am sure Aaron Krickstein agrees

Every rain delay at the US Open...

urban
07-21-2007, 09:59 AM
Yes, Connors overall winning percentage is sensational, regarding his long career. He has about 81-82%, second in open era, slightly below Borg, but he played virtually double the matches (around 1220). Also Laver's percentage in open era is impressive, around 80%, all between age 30 and 40.

NadalandFedererfan
07-22-2007, 04:51 PM
He is an incredible champion. It is sad some dumb people who dont understand the game devalue his greatness because he played so many years past his prime, and wasnt contending too seriously for big titles since he was older and well past his prime.

As for the people bringing up Agassi's head to head with Connors, that just shows how overrated Agassi is by some people and how desperate they are for things to put in his favor that they would even reference beating a 37 year old man. I wonder if the Agassi fans would like to be reminded Agassi lost his last 8 matches to Federer, and had his *** whooped badly in half of those.

BTURNER
07-27-2007, 10:18 PM
What Connors loved was not the slam trophies or his stats but the delighted, mesmerized crowds of fans in the stands. No one got them going better or for longer than James Scott Connors. It was about the adrenolin both in Connors and the thousands of enthralled. He gave us matches for VCRs and goosebumps well past 1984. That is what the sport is about.

suwanee4712
07-28-2007, 05:55 AM
I've made it known that I don't personally care for Jimmy Connors. But the guy was a champion. He certainly did enough in the sport to stay as long as he liked. I can remember people talking about Nastase and Lendl hanging around too long or Virginia Wade or Martina. But people showed up and tuned in to watch these players.

Their winning percentages might have gone down from playing past their prime. But I don't think that takes away from their records. When you put your name on a slam trophy, that's forever. But I guess they found the reward in continuing to play greater than any price they had to pay.

martin
07-30-2007, 01:11 AM
Connors was leading Lendl and Mcenroe head to head with a big margin till 1984. Connors was 32 and Lendl and Mcenroe 24 and 25. People on this board take the head to head record to point out that Lendl and Mcenroe were better than Connors. If Connors would have stopped at the end of 1984 at the age of 32 we wouldn't have these discussions. Ofcourse Lendl and Mcenroe started to win more and more. You cannot expect an aging 34 or 35 years old Connors to beat Lendl or Mcenroe. As someone said here. He gets penalized for being so good at an advanced age.

keithchircop
07-30-2007, 04:37 AM
If YOU were connors you'd have retired earlier than he did. It seems head-to-heads mean a LOT more to you than they do to him. All he seemed to care about was playing tennis with the new pros. Good for him then if he was happy. He didn't win a slam when he got older. But making it to the semifinal of a slam at age 39 was a MASSIVE achievment, one which to him overshadowed the decline in head-to-heads against Mcenroe and Lendl.

People on this board take the head to head record to point out that Lendl and Mcenroe were better than Connors.
He gets penalized for being so good at an advanced age.

I'm sure he loses sleep thinking about what some posters here say. I'm sure these posters upset you more than they upset him.

ollinger
07-30-2007, 04:45 AM
Nobody should retire if they enjoy what they do, and few seemed to enjoy competing as much as Connors. Do you believe Connors cares what a bunch of couch potatos with laptops are typing about him as much as he enjoyed being out there and dispatching pros twenty years younger than himself? My memory of Connors is not only of the guy with the great record and US Open titles on three different surfaces, but of the guy who could still beat many of his peers at age 39. And when should Rosewall have retired? The guy reached two slam finals at age 39. That remains my most impressive memory of his long career.

BTURNER
08-01-2007, 10:22 PM
I just loved to watch him play. Hard to think of a dull, boring Connors match. The pros play so we'll pay to watch. He filled the Stadium Court balcony seats in early rounds when Lendl and Wilander could barely fill the front rows.

Gorecki
08-02-2007, 07:26 AM
Hard to think of a dull, boring Connors match.
True, specialy when you see him shouting mad like a spioled brat after winning a point like bellow (so sad to see that a great point like that is shadowed by a behavior like that):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTicn2IU6iQ

or wipping a clay mark so that the ump wouldn´t see it was out (even if for the joke)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceB4ZpeJPao

I guess these are among the reasons why no matter how many titles he won, he is still underrated by so many.

But, then again... who am i to say anything!

FiveO
08-02-2007, 08:16 AM
In addition to what others have said about it being Connors choice, in the three majors he would play in 1985 and 1987 he remained more than competitive:

1985: RG-SF; W-SF; USO-SF
1987: RG-QF; W-SF; USO-SF

while not the standard he set for himself earlier in his career it is still markedly consistent success which resulted in a year end ranking of #4 each of those years. It wasn't like he was deluding himself.

Wuornos
08-03-2007, 03:08 AM
Players should be judged by their peak standard of play, not their entire career.

Conners was right to continue playing if he was enjoying it.:confused:

BTURNER
08-04-2007, 07:58 AM
Players should be judged by their peak standard of play, not their entire career.

Conners was right to continue playing if he was enjoying it.:confused:
Here I disagree. Players cannot isolate their best years and matches to define themselves. You have a bad match, its part of your legacy, you have a bad year, its still on record as part of what you did. Connors record is not written on a blackboard with an erasor handy for erasing the years 1984-1991 if they do not turn out the way he had hoped when he decided to play. He gets judged for the decisions he made to get on the court and what he did in it. Part of that judgement includes the joy, despair, humor and excitment his matches brought to the crowds and fans. Part of the judgement incudes his results.

The Gorilla
08-04-2007, 09:59 AM
he said during wimbledon he wishes he stopped after USO '91 because that's when most of the damage was done to his body and he didn't get any results.